I assume this Washington Post story is true: “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page.” It confirms what has been sporadically reported since late last year, that the Obama administration sought and ultimately received a FISA order to spy on at least one associate of Donald Trump. So Trump’s famous tweets were, in substance, true.
The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.
Do the leaks come from the same Obama administration holdovers who have leaked in the past, trying to get ahead of disclosures that will confirm that President Trump’s suspicions were correct? Or do they come from officials appointed by Trump? I don’t know, but the Post’s illicit sources are pretty much always Democrats.
The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.
That’s a strong charge, but I doubt that there is evidence to support it. Carter Page “worked in Moscow for Merrill Lynch a decade ago and … has said he invested in Russian energy giant Gazprom.” He never had any official association with the Trump campaign, but has been referred to as an “informal adviser.” He has asked to testify before a Congressional committee to clear his name.
The current leakers, whoever they are, described the Obama administration’s FISA application in detail. Or else the Post reporters have seen it.
The government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.
Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against another Russian agent. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said.
The Obama administration was already trying, last Summer, to find evidence that Russia’s government was “meddling” in our presidential election:
The application also showed that the FBI and the Justice Department’s national security division have been seeking since July to determine how broad a network of accomplices Russia enlisted in attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election, the officials said.
I find it hard to believe that Russia’s rulers, from Vladimir Putin on down, wanted to help elect a president who vowed to rebuild America’s dwindling military strength, and to put America first, in place of an administration that was consistently supine in the face of Russian aggression and was borderline anti-American. Possibly Putin and his advisers are that dumb, but I doubt it.
In any event, the Obama administration failed to find any evidence that anyone associated with Trump was somehow cooperating with the Russians–not even a “junior member of the [Trump] campaign’s foreign policy advisory group,” as Page described himself. If they had, we would have learned about it long before now.
We haven’t heard the last of this story, but for the moment one thing is clear: a great many people, inside and outside of the media, owe President Trump an apology. Assuming that President Obama knew of, and approved, the FISA application–a safe assumption, I think–Trump’s much-reviled tweet was true:
Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found.
How much of this Trump knew all along is, at this point, unclear.
UPDATE: We are now starting to get a picture of how sinister this whole Democratic Party misinformation campaign is. Through the last half of 2016, the Obama administration was desperately searching for evidence of some link between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. They went to the length of seeking (twice, reportedly) and finally obtaining a FISA order that allowed them to spy on at least one insignificant Trump associate.
In addition, we now know that Susan Rice headed up an operation whereby raw NSA intelligence was sifted for names of Trump associates, no doubt in hopes of uncovering dirt of some sort.* And we also know that these efforts came up dry. The Obama administration found no compromising information about Trump or any of his associates.
Nevertheless, ever since the Inauguration the Democratic Party, especially its press wing in Washington and New York, has relentlessly pushed the Trump/Russia story. What story? There isn’t one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats in the press from talking about little else for the last three months.
And yet, all along, the Democrats have known that their spying produced nothing. This whole story is almost unbelievably sordid. The relevant Congressional committees should investigate thoroughly, and criminal prosecutions should follow where laws have been broken.
* All of this is reminiscent of Watergate, in this sense: after the fact, no one could figure out why the Plumbers bugged the Democratic National Committee, given that President Nixon was obviously going to be re-elected anyway. (The answer to that question may still be unknown, but that is another story.) Similarly, Barack Obama and his minion Susan Rice no doubt were confident that Hillary Clinton would win the election and serve Obama’s third term. Yet, they weren’t taking any chances.